Chicago Sun-Times' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 4,734 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 74% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 24% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 9.3 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 71
Highest review score: 100 Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
Lowest review score: 0 Wolf Creek
Score distribution:
4,734 movie reviews
  1. An earnest but hopeless attempt to tell a parable about a man's search for redemption. By the end of his journey, we don't care if he finds redemption, if only he finds wakefulness.
  2. A lot of the dialogue is intended as funny, but man, is it lame.
  3. If the movie is a lost cause, it may at least showcase actors who have better things ahead of them.
  4. (Li)'s scenes are so clearly computer-aided that his moves are about as impressive as Bugs Bunny doing the same.
  5. Hoot has its heart in the right place, but I have been unable to locate its brain.
  6. Plays like a tired exercise, a spy spoof with no burning desire to be that, or anything else.
  7. There are those who will no doubt call The Postman the worst film of the year, but it's too good-hearted for that.
  8. This is not the story of a fugitive trying to sneak through enemy terrain and be rescued, but of a movie character magically transported from one photo opportunity to another.
  9. At every moment in the movie, I was aware that Peter Sellers was Clouseau, and Steve Martin was not. I hadn't realized how thoroughly Sellers and Edwards had colonized my memory.
  10. A witless recycling of the H.G. Wells story from 1895, with the absurdity intact but the wonderment missing.
  11. The movie deserves more stars for its bottom-line craft, but all the craft in the world can't redeem its story.
  12. ​I’ll tell you what got Taken. A hundred and twelve minutes of my life got Taken.
  13. It's surprising to see a director like Michael Apted and an actress like Jennifer Lopez associated with such tacky material.
  14. You know there's something wrong with a sex movie when the good parts are the dialogue.
  15. Starts promisingly as an attack on modern commercialized sports, and then turns into just one more wheezy assembly-line story about slacker dudes vs. rich old guys.
  16. It's a simple, wholesome parable, crashingly obvious, and we sit patiently while the characters and the screenplay slowly arrive at the inevitable conclusion. It needs to take some chances and surprise us.
  17. Maybe this is unreasonable, but I can’t help thinking that if you’re going to make a movie with “Oz” in the title, you’d better be prepared to kick in at least a little inspiration. Yet that’s precisely what’s missing — so utterly absent it’s almost impressive in a way — in the painfully uninspired Legends of Oz.
  18. In Step Brothers, the language is simply showing off by talking dirty. It serves no comic function, and just sort of sits there in the air, making me cringe.
  19. The astonishing success of the original "MiB" was partly because it was fun, partly because it was unexpected. We'd never seen anything like it, while with MiBII, we've seen something exactly like it.
  20. A brutal, crude, witless high-tech CGI contrivance, in which no artificial technique has been overlooked, including 3-D.
  21. Made me want to spray the screen with Lysol. This movie is shameless. It's not merely a tearjerker. It extracts tears individually by liposuction, without anesthesia.
  22. I am just about ready to write off movies in which people make bets about whether they will, or will not, fall in love.
  23. The movie pretends to show poor black kids being bribed into literacy by Dylan and candy bars, but actually it is the crossover white audience that is being bribed with mind-candy in the form of safe words by the two Dylans.
  24. The movie is silly beyond comprehension, and even if it weren't silly, it would still be beyond comprehension.
  25. There are few things more depressing than a weeper that doesn't make you weep.
  26. What possible reason was there for anyone to make Did You Hear About the Morgans? Or should I say "remake," because this movie has been made and over and over again, and oh, so much better.
  27. What we have here is a witless attempt to merge the "Twilight" formula with the Michael Bay formula.
  28. It offers certain pleasures, but suffers from an inability to structure events or know when to end a shot. And it has an ending that is simply, perhaps ridiculously, incomprehensible.
  29. A slick production of a lame script, which kills time for most of its middle half-hour. If anyone in the plot had the slightest intelligence, the story would implode.
  30. Like the Bond movies, the "Die Hard" films thrive on brilliantly wicked villains. In this edition, we barely know which bad guy is the main bad guy. The script is filled with heavy-handed dialogue about parents and their children, framed by well choreographed but generic action sequences.
  31. This is one of those 93-minute movies that seem about 88 minutes too long. Or not worth making in the first place.
  32. A watered-down take on the sci-fi classic "Solaris," by Stanislaw Lem, which was made into an immeasurably better film by Andrei Tarkovsky.
  33. It's a lot of things, but boring is not one of them. I cannot recommend the movie, but ... why the hell can't I? Just because it's godawful? What kind of reason is that for staying away from a movie? Godawful and boring, that would be a reason.
  34. Here's a movie without an ounce of human kindness, a sour and mean-spirited enterprise so desperate to please, it tries to be a yukky comedy and a hard-boiled action picture at the same time.
  35. A cringe-inducing mess.
  36. Emma writes everything down and then offers helpful suggestions, although she fails to supply the most useful observation of all, which would be to observe that the entire novel is complete crap.
  37. A film so amateurish that only the professionalism of some of the actors makes it watchable.
  38. When flashbacks tease us with bits of information, it has to be done well, or we feel toyed with. Here the mystery is solved by stomping in thick-soled narrative boots through the squishy marsh of contrivance.
  39. Despite the considerable charisma of Kevin Hart and Josh Gad and a strong supporting cast, The Wedding Ringer has only one or two genuinely inspired bits of comedy, a few dopey moments when you laugh in spite of yourself — and long, long stretches of pointless montages, loud and unfunny physical shtick and far too much reliance on gay “humor."
  40. [Figgis] has made a thriller that thrills us only if we abandon all common sense. Of course preposterous things happen in all thrillers, but there must be at least a gesture in the direction of plausibility, or we lose patience.
  41. An uninspired assembly of characters and story lines that interrupt one another.
  42. Time and again, Ride Along comes up with a clichéd setup — and then blows the payoff.
  43. I admire the craft involved, but the movie leaves me profoundly indifferent. After three earlier movies in the series, which have been transmuted into video games, why do we need a fourth one? Oh. I just answered my own question.
  44. For all of von Trier’s attempts to go big and go bold, the two Nymphomaniac films ultimately come across as a self-indulgent marathon run on a treadmill.
  45. The movie works so hard at juggling its cliches that it fails to generate interest in its story.
  46. Here is a story hammered together from discards at the Lunacy Factory. Attempting to find something to praise, I am reduced to this: Cage's performance is not boring.
  47. This is one of the worst movies of the year.
  48. Dead Man is a strange, slow, unrewarding movie that provides us with more time to think about its meaning than with meaning.
  49. If you walk out after 10 or 15 minutes, you will have seen the best parts of the film.
  50. One of the dirtiest-minded mainstream releases in history. It has a low opinion of men, a lower opinion of women, and the lowest opinion of the intelligence of its audience. It is obscene, foulmouthed, scatological, creepy and perverted.
  51. It is the story of the faith in which I was raised, and it is a story told here with great reverence and extremely faithful renditions of scenes from the New Testament. But, alas, it’s not a good movie.
  52. The actors cast themselves adrift on the sinking vessel of this story and go down with the ship.
  53. It takes some doing to make a Jack Black comedy that doesn't work. But Nacho Libre does it.
  54. The events involving the big speaking competition are so labored that occasionally the twins seem to be looking back over their shoulders for the plot to catch up.
  55. The movie has good special effects and suitably gruesome characters, but it's bloodless.
  56. The Immortals is without doubt the best-looking awful movie you will ever see.
  57. Mad Money is astonishingly casual for a movie about three service workers who steal millions from a Federal Reserve Bank. There is little suspense, no true danger; their plan is simple, the complications are few, and they don't get excited much beyond some high-fives and hugs and giggles.
  58. The standards for comic book superhero movies have been established by "Superman," "The Dark Knight," "Spider-Man 2" and "Iron Man." In that company "Thor" is pitiful. Consider even the comparable villains (Lex Luthor, the Joker, Doc Ock and Obadiah Stane). Memories of all four come instantly to mind. Will you be thinking of Loki six minutes after this movie is over?
  59. Kick-Ass 2 is an uninspired retread. All too often it plays like a Comic-Con gone insane, with costumed do-gooders taking on costumed criminals in gratuitously vicious battles.
  60. This plays like a live-action cartoon where you root for nobody. Everyone seems to think that yelling their lines will make the dialogue funnier. It doesn’t.
  61. It's a shaky-cam meander through an unconvincing relationship, with detours considering the process of making the film. At 91 minutes, it seems very long.
  62. Big Daddy should be reported to the child welfare office.
  63. The first All Talking Killer picture. After the setup, it consists mostly of characters explaining their actions to one another.
  64. The kind of movie Mad magazine prays for. It is so earnest, so overwrought and so wildly implausible that it begs to be parodied.
  65. The characters are bitter and hateful, the images are nauseating, and the ending is bleak enough that when the screen fades to black it's a relief.. Videodrome, whatever its qualities, has got to be one of the least entertaining films of all time.
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  66. That Awkward Moment strives to straddle the line between breezy, bromantic comedy and “Hangover”-esque guy humor. It fails miserably on both counts.
  67. The movie doesn't know how odd it seems to cut from the bloodshed in the ring to the dialogue of the supporting players, who still think they're in a comedy.
  68. Grudge Match does not work on any level. The story is unconvincing. The comedy elements are weak... And, worst of all, the acting in most scenes — particularly those involving Sylvester Stallone and Kim Basinger — is atrocious.
  69. How could director Lawrence Kasdan and writer William Goldman be responsible for a film that goes so awesomely wrong?
  70. A forgettable movie with a forgettable title about forgettable characters I’d just as soon as forget.
  71. Here is a film so dreary and conventional that it took an act of the will to keep me in the theater.
  72. There's nothing wrong with Fast Food Fast Women that a casting director and a rewrite couldn't have fixed.
  73. Why, oh, why, was this movie necessary?
  74. The movie never takes off; it's a bright idea the filmmakers were unable to breathe life into.
  75. There is some dark humor in the movie, of the kind where you laugh that you may not gag.
  76. Opens with 15 funny minutes and then goes dead in the water.
  77. Very seriously confused in its objectives.
  78. Is there another great modern writer so hard to translate successfully into cinema? Saul Bellow? Again, it's all in the language. The only thing Saul and Gabo have in common is the Nobel Prize. Now that's interesting.
  79. Sanctum tells the story of a terrifying adventure in an incompetent way. Some of it is exciting, the ending is involving, and all of it is a poster child for the horrors of 3-D used badly.
  80. [Robin Williams] has been ill-served by a screenplay that isn't curious about what his life would really be like.
  81. This movie should have been struck by a lightning bolt.
  82. The Perfect Sleep puts me in mind of a flywheel spinning in the void. It is all burnished brass and shining steel, perfectly balanced as it hums in its orbit; yet, because it occupies a void, it satisfies only itself and touches nothing else. Here is a movie that goes about its business without regard for an audience.
  83. The movie attempts to jerk tears with one clunky device after another, in a plot that is a perfect storm of cliche and contrivance. In fact, it even contains a storm -- an imperfect one.
  84. Its primary flaw is that it's not critical. It is a celebration of an idiotic lifestyle, and I don't think it knows it.
  85. The long-awaited, highly anticipated, much-discussed film adaptation of the first segment of E L James’ inexplicably popular "Fifty Shades" trilogy is a tedious exercise in dramatic wheel-spinning that doesn’t have the courage to explore the darkest elements of the characters and doesn’t have the originality to stand on its own merits.
  86. At some point during the pitch meetings for D.E.B.S. someone must certainly have used the words "Charlie's Lesbians."
  87. Jiminy Glick needs definition if he's to work as a character. We have to sense a consistent comic personality, and we don't; Short changes gears and redefines the character whenever he needs a laugh.
  88. Director R.J. Cutler is fond of time-lapse establishing shots and rapid-fire montages, none of them particularly effective in conveying this bizarre dual world Mia now inhabits.
  89. This lame tale just falls completely flat.
  90. The Crew is all contrivance and we don't believe a minute of it.
  91. Every once in a while there’s an inspired montage, or a one-liner that made me laugh out loud. But how can you have the great Christoph Waltz playing a villain in a comedy, and you get almost nothing out of it?
  92. The movie is an invaluable experiment in the theory of cinema, because it demonstrates that a shot-by-shot remake is pointless; genius apparently resides between or beneath the shots, or in chemistry that cannot be timed or counted.
  93. The photography, the dialogue, the acting, the script, the special effects and especially the props (such as a spaceship that looks like it would get a D in shop class) are all deliberately bad in the way that such films were bad when they were REALLY being made.
  94. Walks like a thriller and talks like a thriller, but it squawks like a turkey.
  95. Blindness is one of the most unpleasant, not to say unendurable, films I've ever seen.
  96. If Flashdance had spent just a little more effort getting to know the heroine of its story, and a little less time trying to rip off "Saturday Night Fever," it might have been a much better film.
  97. A deplorable film with this message: If you're a 14-year-old girl who has been brutally raped and murdered by a serial killer, you have a lot to look forward to.
  98. Did you (Garry Marshall) deliberately assemble this movie from off-the-shelf parts or did it just happen that way? The film is like a homage to the cliches and obligatory stereotypes of its genre.
  99. Bored out of my mind during this spectacle, I found my attention wandering to the subject of physics.
  100. If it can be said movies have personalities, I give you three words to sum up the basic core identity of Safe Haven: Bat. Bleep. Crazy.

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